Saturday, 9 July 2011

Aston Martin Vantage

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage and the Aston Martin V12 Vantage are a series of hand built sports cars from the British manufacturer Aston Martin. Aston Martin has previously used the "Vantage" name on high performance variants of their existing GT models, notably on the Virage-based car of the 1990s. The modern car, in contrast, is the leanest and most agile car in Aston's line-up. As such, it is intended as a more focused model to reach out to potential buyers of cars such as the Porsche 911 as well as the exotic sports and GT cars with which Aston Martins traditionally compete. Aston Martin also manufactures the more expensive Vanquish AM310

Following the unveiling of the AMV8 Vantage concept car in 2003, the production V8 Vantage was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in 2005 for the 2006 model year. The two seat, two -door coupé had a bonded aluminium structure for strength and lightness. The 172.5 inch (4.38 m) long coupé featured a hatchback-style tailgate for practicality, with a large luggage shelf behind the seats. In addition to the coupé, a convertible, known as the V8 Vantage Roadster, is available .
The V8 Vantage was initially powered by a 4.3 L (4300 cc) quad-cam 32-valve V8 which produced 380 hp (280 kW) at 7,300 rpm and 302 lb·ft (409 N·m) at 5,000 rpm.However models produced after 2008 had a 4.7 litre 420 hp (313 kW) V8. Though based loosely on Jaguar's AJ-V8 engine architecture, this engine was unique to Aston Martin and featured race-style dry-sump lubrication, which enabled it to be mounted low in the chassis for an improved center of gravity. The cylinder block and heads, crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons, camshafts, inlet and exhaust manifolds, lubrication system, and engine management were all Aston Martin designs and the V8 engine was assembled by hand at the AM facility in Cologne, Germany, which also built the V12 engine for the DB9 and Vanquish.
The engine was front mid-mounted with a rear-mounted transaxle, giving a 49/51 front/rear weight distribution. Slotted Brembo brakes were also standard. The original V8 Vantage could accelerate to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.7 seconds topping out at 175 mph (282 km/h). Vantages with the enhanced 400 HP version of the 4.3 L V8 engine (included with the "N400" package or available individually as a Power Upgrade kit) as well as later models with the 4.7 L V8 and 6.0 L V12 were even faster.
In 2008 Aston introduced an aftermarket dealer approved upgrade path for power and handling of the 4.3L variants that maintained the warranty with Aston. The power upgrade was The V8 Vantage Power Upgrade, creating a more potent version of the Aston Martin 4.3 litre engine with an increase in Peak power of 20 bhp to 400 bhp while peak torque is increased by 10Nm to 420Nm. This consists of the fitting of the following components; Manifold Assy painted Crackle Black Valved Air Box RH & LH Vacuum Hose Assy Engine Bay Fuse Box Link Lead ECU to Fuse Box Gasket – Throttle Body to Manifold Gasket – Intake Manifold Seal – Fuel Injector to Manifold Manifold Badge.
The V8 Vantage retailed for £79,000, US$110,000, or €104,000 in 2006, Aston Martin planned to build up to 3,000 per year. Included was a six-speed manual transmission and leather-upholstery for the seats, dash, steering-wheel, and shift-knob. A six-speed sequential manual transmission, similar to those produced by Ferrari and Lamborghini, called Sportshift was introduced later as an option.

In their 2006 readership survey, readers of Car Design News voted the Aston Martin V8 Vantage as the best current production car design. The survey results were based on over 1000 responses, most from working automotive designers and students of industrial and automotive design. The Vantage was also voted one of Automobile magazine's 2007 "All Stars" for its performance, road manners, and design. The V8 Vantage is also one of the only two cars to be added to "The DB9 section," – a fridge reserved for the super-"cool" – on the BBC's Top Gear(on which it is described as the baby Aston to differentiate it from the V12 powered DB9). The program rates cars from seriously un-cool to sub-zero. The fridge was an extra category added when the presenters deemed the Aston Martin DB9 too cool for the sub-zero category. In the 2005 awards, Jeremy Clarkson declared the V8 Vantage as the coolest car of the year, while the award winner was actually the Porsche 911. While the V8 Vantage remains a rare and special car by any standard, the success of the model is highlighted by the completion of chassis number 10,000 – a specially ordered Onyx Coupe delivered to a customer in USA – in the first half of 2008. While the production of 10,000 cars is a tiny number by the standards of typical car manufacturers, it is a significant milestone for an Aston Martin model – the DB9 being the only other Aston Martin model to have achieved that figure.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Porche 911

This car is often regarded as the best ever looking ,err, beetle. Looks apart, this car is a utter sensation to drive. The 911 is one of the best performing cars in the world. This car set the definition for a perfect everyday sports car. You can rew it hard and clear, or you can just potter around town, with utmost ease.  This version of the 911 was replaced in 2012 with the brand new 911This is the bigger brother of the awesome Cayman. It competes with the American Chevrolet Corvette, the scintillating Audi R8, the gorgeous SLS AMG, the cool Ferrari Italia, the superfast McLaren MP4-12C, the classic 911, the fantastic Aston Martin Vantage, the futuristic BRZ, the upcoming Jaguar C-X16 and the muscular Chevy Camaro. Porshe also makes the iconic Boxter.

In 2005, the 911 was heavily revised and the 996's replacement, the 997, was unveiled. The 997 keeps the basic profile of the 996, bringing the drag coefficient down to 0.28, but draws on the 993 for detailing. In addition, the new headlights revert to the original bug-eye design, drifting from the teardrop scheme of the 996. Its interior is also similarly revised, with strong links to the earlier 911 interiors while at the same time looking fresh and modern. The 997 shares less than a third of its parts with the outgoing 996, but is still technically very similar to it.
Initially, two versions of the 997 were introduced— the rear wheel drive Carrera and Carrera S. While the base 997 Carrera produced 325 PS (239 kW) from its 3.6 L Flat 6, a more powerful 3.8 L 355 PS (261 kW) Flat 6 powers the Carrera S. Besides a more powerful engine, the Carrera S also comes standard with 19 inch (48 cm) "Lobster Fork" style wheels, more powerful and larger brakes (with red calipers), a more sporty suspension, complete with PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) which allows for electronic adjustability of suspension settings, Xenon Headlamps, and Sport Steering wheel.
In late 2005, Porsche announced the all wheel drive versions to the 997 lineup. Carrera 4 models (both Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S) were announced as 2006 models. Both Carrera 4 models are wider than their rear wheel drive counterparts by 1.26 inches (32 mm) to cover wider rear tires. 0–60 mph (97 km/h) for a base Carrera 4 with the 325 PS (239 kW; 321 hp) engine was reported at 4.5 seconds according to The 0–100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration for the Carrera S with the 355 PS (261 kW; 350 hp) was noted to be as fast as 4.2 seconds in a recent Motor Trend comparison, and Road & Track has timed it at 3.8 seconds. The 997 lineup includes both 2 and 4 wheel drive variants, named Carrera 2 and Carrera 4 respectively. The Targas (4 and 4S), released in November 2006, are 4-wheel drive versions that divide the difference between the coupes and the cabriolets with their dual, sliding glass tops.
There were rumours that the 997 911 was to undergo an update for the 2008 model year, however these changes were held off until the 2009 model year. The official changes, originally found in leaked product guides, indicate the new 997 will receive a larger air intake in the front bumper, new headlights, new rear lights, new direct fuel injection engines built from the ground up, and the introduction of a dual-clutch gearbox called PDK. Porsche USA revealed that the 2009 models due out in April would be equipped with Bluetooth support in the communications system.

997 Turbo

997 Turbo
The Turbo version of the 997 series featured the same 3.6 L twin-turbocharged engine as the 996 Turbo, but this time it developed 480 PS (353 kW; 473 bhp) and 620 N·m (457 lb·ft) of torque. This was in part due to the 997's VTG (variable turbine geometry), which essentially combines the low-rev boost and quick responses of a small turbocharger with the high-rev power of a larger turbocharger. As well as producing more power and flexibility, the new turbocharger improved fuel consumption over the 996 Turbo. With these performance upgrades, it accelerates to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.7 seconds (with the manual transmission) and reaches a top speed of 310 km/h (193 mph). However, these are official figures and Porsche is notable for being conservative about their power and performance ratings. Motor Trend Magazine has clocked the 997 Turbo's 0–60 mph time in 3.2 seconds with the Tiptronic transmission. Jeremy Clarkson on his "Thriller" dvd, showed that on a de-restricted stretch of autobahn with just the right downwards gradient, the car maxed out 200 mph (320 km/h). The optional Sports Chrono overboost package increases torque to 680 N·m (500 lb·ft) for short periods (maximum 10 seconds) but over a narrower rev range.

997 GT3
The 997 Turbo features a new all wheel drive system, similar to the one found on the Porsche Cayenne. Featuring PTM (Porsche Traction Management) the new system incorporates a clutch-based system which varies the amount of torque to the wheels to avoid tyre slippage. This, according to Porsche, aids traction and the handling by redirecting the torque to control oversteer or understeer, thus resulting in far more neutral handling, as well as greatly improved performance in all weather conditions (as opposed to older AWD system which gave the Turbo stability under hard acceleration). However, in the facelifted 911 Turbo, launched in August 2009,  the PTM system has now been tweaked to give more a more rearward power bias. The new 911 Turbo also has paddle shifters for the PDK double-clutch gearbox for the first time . The new 911 turbo uses a completely different engine. The previous water cooled turbos (996 and 997) measured 3600cc and were based on the so called Mezger motor that powered numerous race cars. The new engine measures 3800cc and was first developed for the new carrera that was launched in 2008. The variable-vane twin turbochargers have also been extensively reworked to increase responsiveness, and the intercooler and fuel system have been uprated. It develops 493 bhp which is 20 bhp more than the previous model. The steering wheel also houses a display showing when Sport, Sport Plus and launch control have been selected through the optional Sport Chrono package. 
Styling wise, as with the 996 Turbo the car featured more distinctive styling cues over the Carreras, one of the more distinctive elements the front LED driving/parking/indicator lights mounted on a horizontal bar across the air intakes. The traditional rear wing is a variation of the 996 bi-plane unit.
A new 911 Turbo S has been announced by Porsche for production in 2010. This is, in essence, a fully optioned Porsche 911 Turbo. It has a PDK gearbox, sport exhausts, and other such options as standard. It also comes with re engineered turbos to give an extra 30 horsepower. A 2010 911 Turbo was tested 0-60 in 2.7 seconds with the PDK transmission by Car and Driver magazine. Road & Track tested the 911 Turbo S and achieved a 0-60 time of 2.6 seconds.

997 GT3

The 911 GT3, announced on February 24, 2006 accelerates 0–100 km/h in 4.1 seconds and reach a top speed of 310 km/h (193 mph), almost as quick as the Turbo. Porsche's factory reports can be conservative though; Excellence magazine tested the 997 GT3 and recorded 0–100 km/h in 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 312 km/h (194 mph). The 997 GT3 was released in the summer of 2006. It was at that time crowned "the best handling car in America" by Motor Trend.

997 GT3 RS

The 911 GT3 RS was announced in early 2006 as a homologation version of the GT3 RSR racing car for competition events like Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The drivetrain of the RS is based on the 911 GT3, except for the addition of a lightweight flywheel and closer gear ratios for further improved response under acceleration. Unlike the GT3, the RS is built on the body and chasis of the 911 Carrera 4 and Turbo, and accordingly has a wider rear track for better cornering characteristics on the track.
Visually, the RS is distinguished by its unique color scheme - bright orange or green with black accents, which traces its roots to the iconic Carrera RS of 1973. The plastic rear deck lid is topped by a wide carbon-fiber rear wing. The front airdam has also been fitted with an aero splitter to improve front downforce and provide even more cooling air through the radiator.
The European version of the RS is also fitted with lightweight plexiglass rear windows and a factory-installed roll cage.
Production of the first generation 997 GT3 RS ended in 2009. An estimated 413 units were delivered to the US and the worldwide production run is estimated to be under 2,000 vehicles.
In August 2009, Porsche announced the second generation of the 997 GT3 RS with an enlarged 3.8-liter engine producing 450 bhp (336 kW), a modified suspension, dynamic engine mounts, new titanium sport exhaust, and modified lightweight bodywork.
In April 2011, Porsche announced the third generation of the 997 GT3 RS with an enlarged 4.0-liter engine producing 500 bhp (373 kW), Porsche has designed the GT3 RS 4.0 using lightweight components such as bucket seats, carbon-fibre bonnet and front wings and plastic rear windows to ensure optimum weight reduction, while using suspension components from the racing car itself. Other characteristics include low center of gravity, large rear wing and an aerodynamically-optimised body. The lateral front air deflection vanes, first on a production Porsche, increase downforce on the front axle. Also aided by a steeply-inclined rear wing, aerodynamic forces exert an additional 190 kg ensuring the 911 GT3 RS 4.0 is glued to the tarmac. The GT3 RS 4.0 weighs only 2,998 pounds.

997 GT2

The Type 996 911 GT2 was superseded by the Type 997 GT2 in 2007. On July 16, 2007, Porsche sent out the first official press release concerning the 997 GT2. The GT2 was officially launched during the 62nd Frankfurt Motor Show, which is held biannually in Frankfurt,Germany. The new 911 GT2 arrived at dealerships on November 2007.
The 997 GT2 has a twin turbocharged 3.6 litre 6-cylinder engine, which generates 523 hp (390 kW) at 6500 rpm. The GT2 accelerates in 3.6 seconds to 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) and in 7.4 seconds to 100 mph (161 km/h) and has a maximum top speed of 204 mph (328 km/h). This makes it the first street-legal 911 to exceed 200 mph (322 km/h), with the exception of the 1998 911 GT1 road car (which is sometimes not considered a true 911 due to its mid-mounted engine). The Porsche 997 GT2 also has a curb weight of 3,175 lb (1,440 kg), 505 lb·ft (685 N·m) of torque from 2200 to 4500 rpm, and a 6-speed manual gearbox.
The American auto publication Motor Trend tested a 2008 Porsche 911 GT2 0-60 mph at 3.4 seconds, and 11.4 seconds at 127.9 mph (205.8 km/h) for the quarter mile. The GT2 also recorded a braking distance from 60 mph (97 km/h) to 0 of 98 feet (30 m) and recorded 1.10g lateral grip. The GT2 made an appearance on Top Gear, where it had a lap time of 1:19.5, faster than a Carrera GT by .3 of a second.
A few official pictures of the Porsche 997 GT2 have also been released to publics, and more have been released through the GT2's official minisite. Its appearance slightly differs from its sister-car, the 911 (997) Turbo, in a few ways. It does not have fog lights in the front bumper, it has a revised front lip, it has a different rear wing (with two small air scoops on either side), and it has a different rear bumper (now featuring titanium exhaust pipes).
The 997 GT2 is also different from the 997 Turbo in that the GT2 is rear-wheel-drive rather than all-wheel-drive.